FrankenMac and FrankenBook

Posted by: Nauta

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/07/06 04:59 PM

Hello, everyone. I'm new to the forums and was pointed here by a friend who encouraged me to show off the things I've done in my spare time. Namely, modding the Beige G3 (desktop).

I'm an avid fan of these machines, ever since I got my first one for free from the University of Minnesota (and three more thereafter), as they had no value to the faculty for daily use. However, I decided to teach myself the inner workings of Mac hardware (albeit 9 year old Mac hardware) by opening the case, tinkering around, and seeing what I could come up with.

The first experiment was FrankenMac. It began life as a boring, solitary Beige G3 desktop machine which was still useful but not very interesting. It now sports nine hard drives (with 284 GB storage), two optical drives (CD-RW and DVD), two displays, FireWire & USB 2.0, wifi, an Altec Lansing sound system along with 768 Mb RAM and a 400 Mhz G3 processor. It takes up two cases, has 9 fans, cold cathodes, and needless to say was not named "FrankenMac" without a good reason.

It turned out, in the end, to be a success. I spent barely over $200 to turn a boring machine into something that people ask me if they can come over and see, and something I can use every day for general web surfing, chat, iTunes and DVD viewing.

But I wanted something that instead of sitting in my living room shrouded from the eyes of the interested, I could take out with me and "show off" as it were. (I won't deny that I'm proud of these things, even if I get odd looks from some people). Thus was born FrankenBook, yet another Beige G3 mod but this time instead of making it monsterous, I made it portable.

The idea for FrankenBook came about in the midst of building up and making FrankenMac what it is today - but I lacked both the supplies and the technical expertise to make it at the time. I won't go into graphic detail here (I've said quite enough already and the links explain everything), but FrankenBook is even more of a modding achievement than FrankenMac was. It's the logical next step in expanding my knowledge and abilities.

And with that, I welcome your opinions and suggestions. There's still a few things I'd like to do with both of these machines, and I'm working on what I should do next. Sadly, I'm out of Beige G3s, so I might have to cannibalize one of my older Macs. wink
Posted by: oojacoboo

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/07/06 08:38 PM

First of all, welcome to MacMod! Good job with these mods. The only advice that I might offer is to concentrate on the aesthetics of the mods a tad more. By this, I mean, making sure all the details are alot more complimenting of the enclosures.

Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing more.
Posted by: Nauta

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/07/06 08:49 PM

Originally Posted By: "oojacoboo"
First of all, welcome to MacMod! Good job with these mods. The only advice that I might offer is to concentrate on the aesthetics of the mods a tad more. By this, I mean, making sure all the details are alot more complimenting of the enclosures.

Keep up the great work and I look forward to seeing more.


A couple people have told me that, like I should put FrankenMac in one case or trimming up FrankenBook and hiding the bolts and such. However, I think part of what makes these things appealing is the whole "home-made" architecture of it. Sure, if I were putting it in my car or adding it to something that was otherwise pristene, I'd make it look as professional as possible. Personally I think exposed IDE cables, aluminum shielding around the LCD and a motherboard accessable simply by lifting up a panel is part of the whole experience.

In other words, I've got function down, form is an afterthought. =P
Posted by: whitlock

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/08/06 05:26 PM

Great mods! I love the specs on them and I cannot honestly say I've seen any Beige G3's w/ similar ones. Are you going to upgrade the proc's any time soon?
Posted by: Nauta

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/08/06 05:34 PM

Originally Posted By: "whitlock"
Great mods! I love the specs on them and I cannot honestly say I've seen any Beige G3's w/ similar ones. Are you going to upgrade the proc's any time soon?


Actually the processors have already been upgraded, from 233 to 400 on FrankenMac and 266 to 400 on FrankenBook. I'd like to buy a 1 Ghz G3 upgrade for FrankenMac sometime, but at $200 I'm not sure I can justify it.

And thanks for the compliment. ^^
Posted by: whitlock

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/08/06 05:36 PM

I looked at the specs and assumed you had OC'd the one, so thats my bad!
Posted by: Nauta

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/08/06 05:38 PM

Originally Posted By: "whitlock"
I looked at the specs and assumed you had OC'd the one, so thats my bad!


I did have FrankenBook overclocked to 315 with the stock 266 in it, but decided getting a 400 would be a better idea. And I got one for free anyway.

Overclocking FrankenMac is a bad idea because of all the stuff it has attached to it - I can't risk any system instability. It runs rock solid right now.
Posted by: shadowboxer47

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/08/06 06:05 PM

Welcome to MacMod! A hearty well done! It's always good to see a mod out there. The great thing about modding, whether it is Mac or PC (yuck), is that it's styled to your choice. If it works for you, that's what's important. Even so, I present to you the obligatory "if I were you, I would..."; it's just my two 2, so take it as it is :p

First, I definitely recommend the 1Ghz upgrade--I'm using it right now on my 9600 and it is blazingly fast. If anything is worth the money, the 750 is.

Second, expand the case--you can still keep the old "homemade" look if you choose older models. I certainly recommend a tower. The Power Macintosh 9600 case is the largest old world case available (that I'm aware of) and will easily fit all the things you want.

Third, I would up the GPU--they're dirt cheap on eBay

But, again, that's all just me. Thanks for sharing your mod with us!
Posted by: maestro

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/08/06 08:24 PM

Welcome to MacMod.
Actually if I remember, the Quadra 900 was a bigger case, lol. Anyway, I also think that you could have the homemade look and do it in a more pleasing way. You want people to think you know what you are doing and intended the look it has, right?
Posted by: Nauta

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/08/06 08:25 PM

Originally Posted By: "shadowboxer47"
First, I definitely recommend the 1Ghz upgrade--I'm using it right now on my 9600 and it is blazingly fast. If anything is worth the money, the 750 is.


I can believe that - though with a G3/400 already in it, the speed boost obviously wouldn't be as great as from a 604 to a 750. Plus, there's this little nagging voice in the back of my mind that wonders if, for some reason, it wouldn't work with everything I have hooked up to FrankenMac. (though I've gotten everything else to =P)

Originally Posted By: "shadowboxer47"
Second, expand the case--you can still keep the old "homemade" look if you choose older models. I certainly recommend a tower. The Power Macintosh 9600 case is the largest old world case available (that I'm aware of) and will easily fit all the things you want.


Sound logic. However, I get great amusement over the popular response:

Person: So why do you have two computers on your desk?
Me: They're actually both one computer. See the IDE cables?
Person: What the hell? That's messed up! *boggles*

Plus I'd have to carve up a 9600 case to put two optical drives in. =P

Originally Posted By: "shadowboxer47"
Third, I would up the GPU--they're dirt cheap on eBay


I would like to eventually. ATI Rage Pro 128 16 MB is enough to play DVDs and the like, though I'd love to put something like a 9200 or whatever the latest PCI video card is available for it. Then it can have a blasphemous amount of VRAM and more than my G4 iBook which is just insane. =P

That and I don't use eBay, but I have friends who'd let me pay them to grab things for me.
Posted by: Nauta

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/08/06 08:35 PM

Originally Posted By: "maestro"
Welcome to MacMod.
Actually if I remember, the Quadra 900 was a bigger case, lol. Anyway, I also think that you could have the homemade look and do it in a more pleasing way. You want people to think you know what you are doing and intended the look it has, right?


I guess I figure that the "rough around the edges" look is kind of appealing. It's not like stuff is hanging out all over the place, but it doesn't look like I could have gone in and bought it at the store, either. I think finished, professional looking hardware mods are very impressive, but I'm happy with the way they look.
Posted by: skakillers

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/09/06 07:07 PM

kinda reminds me of the Wallstreet Road Warrior mod
Posted by: Nauta

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/09/06 07:55 PM

Originally Posted By: "skakillers"
kinda reminds me of the Wallstreet Road Warrior mod


Which one is that?
Posted by: skakillers

FrankenMac and FrankenBook - 02/11/06 08:22 AM

look in the mod guides under external mods, then powerbook mods. its the second from the top. or look at the 2005 Great Mod Challenge page.